Oklahoma woman charged with murder, animal cruelty in puppy mill case

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MARLOW, Okla. (KFOR/ Duncan Banner)- An Oklahoma woman who was arrested after investigators discovered a body and a possible puppy mill is now facing charges for the crimes.

Earlier this month, deputies with the Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Office went to perform a welfare check on a property in the 2400 block of N. Hwy 81 after receiving a report that someone may have been injured or killed there.

When deputies arrived, they say they found dozens of dogs living in “deplorable” conditions.

Kelly Nelson and Patti Whitaker, both Stephens County Humane Society board members, traveled to the scene and tell KFOR they were shocked by the rancid conditions.

“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Nelsons said. “We were called by the sheriff’s department because of the number of animals and because they had no water, no food and no shelter.”

Photo from Stephens County Humane Society.
Photo from Stephens County Humane Society.

There were 165 dogs on the property, each kept in small cages that were stacked on top of one another.

“They had no food, not water, no bedding, not a single piece of straw and they were matted, filthy, scared, and hungry,” Nelson said.

The dogs, Whitaker said, are puppy mill victims.

Photo from Stephens County Humane Society.
Photo from Stephens County Humane Society.

“They’re all neglected, every one of them – from no shelter to no water – when we found them. It’s 100 percent neglect. It’s a puppy mill,” Whitaker said.

Deputies obtained a warrant to search the property and discovered the body of 31-year-old Ashley Nicole Anderson in an outbuilding. 

As a result of what they found on the property, deputies arrested 49-year-old Karen Jean Pritchard.

Karen Jean Pritchard
Karen Jean Pritchard

Now, officials say Pritchard is facing charges for the crimes.

According to the Duncan Banner, Pritchard is facing one count of second-degree murder and 112 counts of cruelty to animals.

An affidavit obtained by the newspaper sheds more light on the body found on Pritchard’s property.

The affidavit claims that Pritchard told a witness that she had accidentally backed into Anderson while driving her truck.

Once in police custody, Pritchard reportedly told detectives that she and Anderson had been fighting about taking care of the dogs. They got into a physical altercation and Pritchard claimed Anderson was “acting psychotic.”

She told detectives that Anderson was “hitting her own head on the side of the truck and hitting herself with a pipe.” At one point, she says she flipped Anderson out of the truck onto the ground.

After getting back to the house, Pritchard says Anderson fell on the ground and then began to shake.

Pritchard is currently being held on a $1 million bond. Her next preliminary hearing conference is set for April 14.

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